SWANSEA, Wales – An 80-year-old Zimbabwean pensioner has been charged with the murder of his wife, 77, after a vehicle fire in Swansea, Wales.
Helen Clarke died from her injuries on September 24, two days after the horror car blaze.
Prosecutors believe her husband, David, deliberately started the fire – although he too suffered burns in the incident and was pulled from the burning car with his wife.
David and Helen lived in Zimbabwe until 2017.
David was charged with murder when he appeared at the Swansea Crown Court on September 26.
Appearing via video link in court, with visible burns on his forehead, Clarke spoke only to confirm his name. The court heard the husband would not be entering a plea until a psychiatric assessment had taken place.
Clarke, who has curly grey hair and wore a grey prison-issue top during the hearing, was remanded in custody.
In a tribute to Helen who lived in Langland, Swansea, her family said they wanted to ensure “responsible parties are sound of mind and held accountable.”
Prosecutor Carina Hughes said medical reports were being sought by the defence before the case could move forward.
Police, firefighters, and paramedics were called to a burning Honda Jazz, which was found at the side of the road, at around 8.20AM on September 22.
David and Helen were transported to hospital with burns, before her death two days later.
Investigators believe David deliberately started the fire, although no motive has been disclosed yet.
Friends of the couple who knew them from Harare described David as a devout Catholic.
“David was very active in the Nazareth House Roman Catholic Church in Harare,” one said.
He worked as a journeyman repairing leaky roofs and installing gutters, another recalled.
“He had a business doing gutters and quoted ridiculous amounts of money. I hesitate to say he was ripping off people,” another added.